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Employee benefits professionals know the importance of musculoskeletal health. They host ergonomics experts who visit their office, they track physical therapy benefits spending, and they are increasingly adding musculoskeletal health programs to their employee benefits. These programs offer coaching, virtual physical therapy, digital prompts, and many other ways to help patients engage with their musculoskeletal well-being.
Employers choose to offer digital health solutions like MSK programs because they offer flexibility for employees, advertise improved patient outcomes, and promise potential cost savings.
Hinge is a leader in the digital MSK solution space, and they serve millions of patients across a number of sectors, including manufacturing, retail, professional services and more. They offer a combination of digital physical therapy, digital sensors and computer vision, health coaches, clinical resources, and a wearable pain management device called Enso.
Hinge boasts impressive results, and have published a study with the Validation Institute to verify the advantages they can offer patients and payers. Their results include:
Hinge Health’s customers include large, self-insured employers like Phillips, Boeing, Walgreens, Nielsen, US Foods, and more than 575 others.
SWORD Health offers patients pain relief from MSK conditions, and their biggest claim is to outperform in-person care. Their clinically validated programs are designed for acute conditions, preventive care, pain relief, and post-surgical recovery, and they offer programs for many types of conditions. Their member app includes the ability to consult with physical therapists, plus lessons and videos for patients to use.
SWORD Health advertises patient and payer outcomes that include:
They work with a number of prominent employers and organizations, including Concordia Plans, Carter’s, and Health Catalyst.
Sprite Health’s services are advertised as a “MSK Hub,” a single point of access for all MSK patient needs. Their virtual physical therapy offers phone calls, video chats, and messaging without the need for a wearable sensor. The chronic pain program is a 12-week digital program that blends physical therapy, behavioral health support, and education. They also offer a pre- and post-surgical program delivered over 5-10 weeks, depending on the type of surgery.
One point of difference with Sprite Health is their focus on integrating with other points of care and benefits programs. They focus on sharing information with other clinicians involved in the patient’s care.
Kaia Health’s MSK platform boasts 60 million covered lives worldwide. Their program includes:
Coaches are there to guide patients when needed, and the majority of exercises are self-guided with the Motion Coach™ tool. The digital platform features an algorithm that suggests exercises based on the patient’s needs and progress. Kaia Health boasts 136% reduction in pain, and one unique clinical outcome they advertise is reduced levels of depression, stress, and anxiety.
Limber was developed by sports medicine doctors and physical therapists in response to the increasing need for MSK care. Their solution is geared towards increasing PT and exercise compliance with the aim of reducing the need for costly surgeries and other, more intensive, interventions.
Patients using Limber’s app complete a self-assessment with guided questions, access guided videos with exercises, complete new levels at home, and track their progress over time. Unlike some of the other solutions we’ve highlighted, Limber does not appear to offer video calls with physical therapists, but instead allows patients to take a self-guided approach to MSK health. Limber aims to reduce the high copays, travel distances, and time constraints that often stop patients from completing MSK exercises.
These five programs are just a small sampling of the digital MSK solutions that are popping up on the employee benefits market. With MSK claims being a major cost driver for many employers, they are looking to digital tools and services that meet employees where they are. One key to choosing a great MSK solution is to evaluate the program using employee benefits data. Learn more about how to evaluate programs in our recent ebook. A careful evaluation will help you set goals, track the right metrics, and ensure employee engagement.